You don’t have to go all the way out to VA Beach for an ideal beach spot during the summer months.
Furthermore, you’ll find a few local hidden gems when you opt out of the Virginia Beach beaches.
The beaches in Hampton VA make for a great option when you’re looking for sandy shores void of the chaotic Oceanfront crowds.
So, this here is the lowdown on the best public beaches in Hampton–the local’s favorite secret beaches that we opt for during the busy summer months.
From Buckroe Beach to Fort Monroe, let’s talk about which pristine beaches are a must-visit for your next vacation.
Related Reading: Best Places To Stay In Hampton Virginia
Hampton Beaches Overview
Virginia is known for its rich history and stunning landscapes. But, it doesn’t just stop at picturesque mountains and rolling hills.
Its coastal regions boast some of the most captivating beaches in the United States.
What I love about Virginia is that it provides some lowkey gems that get overlooked on the way to Myrtle Beach or Florida.
Plus, right in the heart of it lies the coastal wonderland of Hampton.
Hampton is a city steeped in history and maritime allure. Established in 1610, this charming town is one of America’s oldest English-speaking settlements.
Hampton’s coastline is a mosaic of sandy shores with historic structures, wildlife, community events, and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Let’s check them out!
The Best Beaches In Hampton VA
Here are four of the best beaches in Hampton Virginia.
1 – Buckroe Beach
Buckroe Beach has been one of the local favorites since the late 1800s with its sandy beaches and shallow waters. It has a fascinating history tied to its origins as a streetcar destination and amusement park.
Did you know that Buckroe means “deer river” in Algonquian?
The name pays homage to the indigenous people who once called this area home.
Today, Buckroe Beach is a bustling waterfront town. You may want to visit its classic boardwalk, offering panoramic views of the Chesapeake Bay.
What’s To Love About Buckroe Beach
- Classic Boardwalk: The boardwalk is perfect for a stroll.
- Picnic Spots: You can enjoy a beachside barbecue with the many available picnic shelters and tables. Grills are available, of course!
- Free Shuttle Service: Getting to Buckroe Beach & Park is easy. That’s because there’s a complimentary shuttle service on weekends and holidays.
- Waterfront Views: Buckroe boasts spectacular sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay.
- Live Entertainment: You may catch live performances and events by the sea because of the stage pavilion.
- Fishing & Observation Pier: Buckroe has a fishing pier that’s open 24/7. You may rent gear from here as well.
Things to Watch Out For
Buckroe Beach is a popular destination and thusly gets large crowds during the weekends. Additionally, jellyfish periodically appear during the summer season.
2 – Fort Monroe Beach (Outlook Beach)
Nestled within the historic Fort Monroe is Outlook Beach. This is a public beach perfect for swimming, sunning, and relaxation.
Fun Fact. Fort Monroe is the biggest stone fort in the United States. It’s also the only remaining moat-encircled fort that’s active today. Due to this, you’ll definitely encounter a touch of history to your beach day.
What’s great about the Fort Monroe beaches is that they extend for miles. You can enjoy the best views in Chesapeake Bay from here.
What’s To Love About Fort Monroe
- Historical Charm: Walk the walls and soak in the stories of the “isle fit for a castle.” Historic jail cells, old wooden churches, and a manmade island called Fort Wool are nearby.
- Sunrise to Sunset: Enjoy the beach from dawn till dusk. Outlook Beach is surrounded by water on all sides, making it perfect for watching the sunset.
- Restroom Facilities: There are convenient amenities and port-a-potties for a day in the sun. You’ll also find public restrooms in the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center.
- Swimming Safety: Outlook Beach is the only one at Fort Monroe with lifeguards on duty. The lifeguards are available from 10 am to 6 pm every summer.
- Kid Friendly: There’s a Junior Ranger Program at the Fort Monroe National Monument. Here, kids can fill out booklets to obtain a ranger badge from the park rangers.
Things to Look Out For
Be careful of jellyfish as there might be a few in the water!
3 – Grandview Nature Preserve
Nature lovers, rejoice! Grandview Nature Preserve is an unspoiled oasis with pristine beaches and diverse ecosystems. Located at the northeast corner of the city of Hampton, it’s a perfect place for those seeking a quieter, more natural escape.
The Grandview Nature Preserve is a public beach that’s open all year round from sunrise to sunset. It boasts 475 acres of tidal creeks, salt marshes, and beachfronts.
Those who love birdwatching may enjoy this beach. Migratory birds often stop by the preserve, so you can take pictures of them if you’re lucky.
What’s To Love About Grandview Nature Preserve
- Secluded Serenity: Escape the crowds in this hidden gem. The city protects this area to preserve its natural beauty.
- Wildlife Encounters: You’ll find some of the rarest plants and birds in this preserve. Keep an eye out for resident critters, dolphins, and sea turtles!
- Kayak Adventures: Paddling through scenic tidal creeks is a fun afternoon activity on this beach. You can kayak to a nearby island called Factory Point and rest on the shore before paddling back.
- Pet Friendly: You may bring pets to the main beach from September to March. However, you’ll need to keep them on a leash at all times.
- Street Parking Available: There’s street parking on the right side of State Park Drive. This makes the beach more accessible to visitors.
Things to Look Out For
Be careful when swimming as the water currents are strong and shifty here. Also, be sure to bring bug spray for those pesky critters.
4 – Salt Ponds Beach
Located at the edge of First Street lies the tiny but beautiful Salt Ponds Beach. Here’s where you’ll find Salt Ponds Marina Resort, which offers a family-friendly atmosphere.
The resort has plenty of amenities and over 254 floating docks. There’s a sandy beach, a pool, shower facilities, and a cabana bar.
You can explore the unique ecosystem of salt ponds and enjoy the playground and picnic areas for added fun.
What’s To Love About Salt Ponds Beach
- Playful Atmosphere: Salt Ponds Beach is calm, making it a great place for families with young children.
- Clean Sandy Beach: Enjoy the well-maintained sandy beach. You’ll find clams along the shore, so it’s a fun place for beachcombing.
Things to Look Out For
Parking and food establishments may be hard to find around the area. Make sure to bring packed food if you want to visit this beach.
The beaches in Hampton VA are some of the most beautiful beaches in Virginia, with nature trails, large restroom facilities, and other beach area amenities that make for a fun day.
The city of Hampton, itself, is a coastal gem where history meets the Atlantic coast.
From the classic Buckroe Beach to the historic Outlook Beach, each beach offers a unique experience.
And, if you’re looking for a place to stay nearby, you can pop over to this guide on the top 5 hotels in Hampton.
Many of those hotels are near these popular beaches.
So, pack your sunscreen, grab your picnic essentials, and go enjoy the best beaches in Hampton VA!
What’s your favorite beach in Hampton?
For more Virginia travel guides, you can also check out:
- Best Hotels In Hampton VA
- Hampton’s Forgotten Amusement Park: Buckroe Beach
- 25 Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday In Virginia
- Best National Parks In Virginia
Thanks for reading!
Beaches In Hampton VA FAQs
Does Hampton VA have beaches?
Yes, Hampton VA has beaches, including the popular Buckroe Beach and Park, which offers three-quarters of a mile of clean beach along the Chesapeake Bay.
Is Buckroe Beach free?
Yes, Buckroe Beach offers free parking and admission.
Can you walk on Buckroe Beach at night?
While the beach is open year-round, Buckroe Beach Park closes around sunset and is not open at night. It’s always advisable, too, to take necessary precautions when walking on any beach at night.
What ocean is Buckroe Beach?
Buckroe Beach is located along the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, offering a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
What is Buckroe Beach known for?
Buckroe Beach is known for being Hampton’s most popular beach because of its clean sandy shores, sparkling water, gentle surf, and panoramic view of the Chesapeake Bay. It was once famous for its amusement park, Buckroe Beach Park.
What happened to Buckroe Beach?
Buckroe Beach Park closed in 1985 after larger and more modern competition opened (both Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg). The last time the amusement park turned a sustainable profit was in 1968.
The park didn’t have the footprint or funds to compete with the newer parks and so was subsequently abandoned until the 1990s when it was demolished.
Are there jellyfish at Buckroe Beach?
Buckroe Beach does periodically have jellyfish when the water warms up. Be sure to check the signs at the beach for any notices about jellyfish the day you visit.
How far is Hampton VA from a beach?
Hampton VA is located directly on the waterfront, so there are beaches within the city, with Buckroe Beach being one of the best places and popular options.